This past month was a time of strengthening in several areas of the ministry.
Ministry in the Mountains
First, the Lord strengthened our missionary work in the mountains. This month I began discipling a man named Felix, who is a new believer. God saved him when I spoke to him about the good news of the gospel. He was baptized in the river on the mountain, and we invited some of the other small churches in the area in order to create more of a sense of fellowship in the gospel. It was a good opportunity to be reminded with our brothers and sisters in Christ that the common cause of the gospel is what unites us as Christians. If we are in Christ, we are all involved in the cause of glorifying God by making disciples, baptizing them in the Name of the triune God.
This month I also witnessed growth in the small rural church that I am helping to lead in another town in the mountains. This little church has been reestablished after practically dissolving a couple years ago. The Lord has helped me to lead them toward restoration, and I visit every Thursday to teach the Scriptures and to teach them hymns. When I first arrived there, only two of the church members were involved in the church. Immediately I began preaching the gospel to them and encouraged them in the commandments of Christ. After several months, the other members of the church began to return, and there was notable repentance among them for having forsaken their love to Christ and neglecting the church. Now, there are twelve people that meet for our service every Thursday.
Also, the Lord strengthened my discipleship efforts with two pastors in the mountains. I meet with them every Monday for the entirety of the morning to study certain disciplines, like how to study, interpret, and preach the Bible. My relationship with these two men has opened up more opportunities to help some of the small groups of believers in the surrounding towns and has opened up doors for preaching the gospel in new places.
Ministry in Oxapampa
Second, the Lord strengthened the missionary work here in the town of Oxapampa. The blessing of God on this work has been abundant. God has greatly restored this congregation back to a place of health and vibrance. Of course, there are still struggles among the members of the church, and there are many things that still need to change, but the fruit of the gospel in their lives is becoming evident little by little. One of the ways I have seen significant change in this congregation is the love that now exists among them. There is also an evident desire for holiness as a church. They also have a strong desire to do things according to what the Bible says. For example, they are now helping a widow in the church that qualifies biblically for support. Another example of the growth in the church is that they are being more generous and are sharing needs with one another. Additionally, they are wanting to align themselves with Scripture by having their own qualified elders and deacons. In fact, now I am in the process of discipling and preparing a man named Timothy for pastoral ministry in this church. It’s such a joy for me to be able to teach Timothy in order that God might use him to serve this church as a pastor.
Ministry in Pozuzo
Third, the Lord strengthened the missionary work in the town of Pozuzo. After several months traveling to this town, I was finally able to make contact and form a good friendship with a brother there that is leading a group of four believers. They have now asked me to come and teach the Scriptures and to evangelize the community. I trust the Lord will enable me to take them up on their request.
A Challenging Setback
Finally, I’ll end this report with some bad news. At the end of the month I suffered an accident on my dirt-bike as I was coming down the mountain after preaching in some churches. It was late at night and it was dark. The rain was coming down so hard that it made it very difficult to see and the dirt road down the mountain is really rough and muddy. As I was making my way down, with my wife on the bike with me, I lost control and we crashed to the ground, my wife and I lying in the mud. In the grace of God, my wife did not suffer any serious injury. However, I broke my leg in two places and fractured my femur. Many hours passed as I was lying there way up in the mountains; it wasn’t until the next day that someone was able to come and rescue us. It took nearly two weeks for them to operate, since I had to travel six hours by bus through the mountains to a different town, and then wait there until the doctor and the supplies for the surgery could arrive. Now, I have been operated on and I’m back home, and they have told me that I will not be mobile for four to six months.
All of this has really hindered my ministry activities. At this moment, as I type, I am in my bed, unable to do much of anything physically. Please, I ask you sincerely to intercede for me before our God who is able to heal the sick if He so desires. Ask that my bones might heal quickly and that there wouldn’t be any anomaly in the recovery process. Pray also that the Lord would help me to remain encouraged and patient in Him.